A tough round to call

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Super 14 on 9 Apr 2009 at 09:54
Tagged with : , , ,

Wow guys – can you believe that Round 9 is already upon us? We’re well past the halfway mark in this year’s Super 14 already. Who’s going to come out on top over the course of a rugby-filled Easter weekend?

The first game is the Blues up against the Lions on Friday morning. I’m opting to call this one “Operation: Try-Fest” because neither team is particularly keen on defending. The Lions fronted up well against the Chiefs in the first half, only to be slaughtered at the end when their woefully sub-standard bench let them down. They’re without Baywatch and Doppies this week, so expect them to get hammered at the breakdown and find their backline rhythm somewhat disrupted with the Super 14 rookie Deon van Rensburg at 12. It’s going to be a Good Friday for the Blues, I fear – they’re heading for a bonus point win.

The Force are at home to the Hurricanes next up, and the home side are coming off a great win against a surprisingly off-colour Reds outfit the week before. The Canes, in contrast, played a pretty good game in Durban, only to be blown off the park by some brilliant counter-attacking play. Never the strongest team in Perth, I feel the Force won’t have the firepower to live with the Canes and might just pick up a bit of a backlash from a Wellington side keen to show they’re better than their last result would suggest. The Canes will win, but I’m not brave enough to predict by how much.

Highlanders v Reds is the third game and it’s a contest between two early-season write-offs that have gone on to surprise many. The Landers can put in a serious challenge for a top-four spot if they win this one, whereas the Reds showed last week that their performance against the Sharks was pretty much a one-off and they remain a pretty limited team. I think the Landers will take this one comfortably and will be disappointed if they don’t manage to pick up the fourth try in the process.

Ah, the Brumbies playing for their lost teammate, up against the Stormers, playing for the head of coach Erasmus (we can dream, can’t we?). The Mackay factor makes this one difficult to call, because it’s impossible to say what effect the tragedy is going to have on the team. Then again, these days you only really need to show up to beat the Stormers, so I’m giving this one to the home side. I think they’ll play like men possessed on Saturday. Rest in peace, Shawn Mackay.

Tahs-Bulls is also one that appears a tough call, but actually isn’t. The Bulls have been shit on tour, as I predicted they would. Once they start losing, they don’t start winning again until they get back to their beLoftus. The Tahs, on de udder hand, don’t seem to lose in Sydney much… even if they do play horrible rugby in the process. It will be a dour affair and most will ahve switched off by half time. Expect the Tahs to come away with yet another narrow victory, leaving the Bullies to mutter darkly into their beards yet again.

Oh – and the Sharks are going to run riot in Bloemfontein. It’s a home game, isn’t it?

Only kidding – sure, we’ll take the Cheetahs seriously because we don’t want a repeat of the Reds disaster, but calling this bunch of no-hopers our “bogey team” is really giving them a level of credit and accomplishment that they really don’t deserve. Everyone else has beaten them easily this year. So will the Sharks.

Bring on the rugby!


  • Vital to Maintain PressureThursday, April 09, 2009 – 09:35

    The Sharks travel to Bloemfontein in their final away game of the pool stages where they are up against The Vodacom Cheetahs in Saturday’s Week 9 Vodacom Super 14 match with the knowledge that victory would do themselves and their campaign a great justice.

    Following the good form that has taken them to the top of the log, this weekend is the ideal opportunity to entrench themselves in that position given the certainty that one or more of the top teams will drop points this weekend in what has become a tightly-congested log.

    With nine or ten sides still harbouring ambitions of making the play-offs, each match takes on immense meaning and for teams like the Bulls (fourth) and Waratahs (third) who meet each other in Sydney on the weekend, victory and defeat will have a huge impact on the run-in to the semis.

    Similarly for The Sharks, victory would put some breathing space between themselves and the second-placed Chiefs (currently three log points adrift) and fifth-placed Crusaders, both of whom enjoy a bye this week before heading over to South Africa for their overseas tours.

    However, in the Cheetahs, The Sharks face a huge battle that South African derbies always promise. The team from Bloemfontein might not be enjoying the best of seasons and winless going into this match, are certainly playing for pride. In the past, The Sharks have come unstuck against what many call their bogey side, certainly the Absa Currie Cup results in the past seven or eight years testify to that, and this weekend must not be a repeat.

    There is no underestimating the Cheetahs, nor is there the fear that the team “won’t pitch up.” The Sharks have been bitten once this season already – rather badly – and you’d be hard-pressed to expect that again.

    Continuity is a key factor in the team’s continued success – amongst other important aspects of their game – and this week is no different. The backline remains unchanged from last week’s side that saw off the Hurricanes while amongst the forwards, Steven Sykes and Albert van den Berg have been bracketed in for the number 4 jersey pending the former’s recovery from flu.

    In rotational changes in the front row, John Smit will start at hooker with Deon Carstens and Jannie du Plessis on either side of him, while Beast Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis will play off the bench.

    The Sharks

    15. Stefan Terblanche
    14. Odwa Ndungane
    13. Adrian Jacobs
    12. Riaan Swanepoel
    11. Luzuko Vulindlu
    10. Francois Steyn
    9. Rory Kockott
    8. Ryan Kankowski
    7. Keegan Daniel
    6. Jacques Botes
    5. Johann Muller (Capt)
    4. Steven Sykes / Albert van den Berg
    3. Jannie du Plessis
    2. John Smit
    1. Deon Carstens

    16. Bismarck du Plessis
    17. Tendai Mtawarira
    18. Albert van den Berg / Steven Sykes
    19. Skholiwe Ndlovu
    20. Charl McLeod
    21. Monty Dumond
    22. Chris Jordaan

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  • Comment 1, posted at 09.04.09 10:04:57 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Man but we have numerous Front Row combinations…

    At the start of the tournament we would’ve whined over the inexperience on that bench…but now we know that these guys are Super 14 material.

    Sharks by 15 or more… 🙂

    The rest of the winners will be THE HOME TEAMS.

  • Comment 2, posted at 09.04.09 10:50:58 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • my LMS pick this week is the Tahs. It’s getting tougher now…

  • Comment 3, posted at 09.04.09 11:59:09 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : There will be a few lives lost this weekend on LMS. at least 5 so far

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.04.09 13:11:33 by Rahul Reply

  • 6 now

  • Comment 5, posted at 09.04.09 13:12:16 by Rahul Reply

  • @Rahul (Comment 5) : people picking the Bulls?

  • Comment 6, posted at 09.04.09 13:28:40 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : Can you believe I lost my lifeline when choosing the Sharks against the Reds

  • Comment 7, posted at 09.04.09 13:38:12 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 7) : silly 🙂

    NEVER go for an away win

  • Comment 8, posted at 09.04.09 14:15:17 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : 1 bull 4 stormers and 1 😯 LION 😯 😯

  • Comment 9, posted at 09.04.09 14:25:57 by Rahul Reply

  • @Rahul (Comment 9) : the Lions stand a better chance than the Bulls and Stormers… at least they have grasped the fundamentals of playing rugby.

  • Comment 10, posted at 09.04.09 14:53:37 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 10) : Granted, but still a brave pick

  • Comment 11, posted at 09.04.09 14:58:45 by Rahul Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 10) : I see why now, He didnt have much coice this week.

  • Comment 12, posted at 09.04.09 15:03:11 by Rahul Reply

  • @Rahul (Comment 12) : Pokkel? He could have picked the Blues insteead

  • Comment 13, posted at 09.04.09 15:20:02 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator

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